Nguyễn Xuân Cường. — Photo nongnghiep.vn
Minister of Agriculture Nguyễn Xuân Cường speaks to Vietnam News Agency on the threshold of the Lunar New Year
As head of the country’s primary industry, what should the sector focus on to achieve even more in 2019?gng
The agriculture and the rural development sectors have focused their efforts on restructuring the agricultural sector and the national target programme on new rural development. The first mission is on the right track, but we still need to focus more on links between the sectors involved. For example, the processing sector has faced quite a lot of challenges both in domestic and foreign markets.
The agriculture sector will do its best to achieve the target on the number of communes and districts to achieve the title “new-style rural area” as part of the programme.
Besides, we still need to focus more on improving the environment, particularly the issue of waste treatment. Last but not least, we also see the imperative need to improve the spiritual and cultural life of the people while keeping law and order. To achieve the last target, it needs concerted efforts from the whole political system, economic sectors and the people in general.
An important task for the sector in 2019 is to re-organise production and create sufficient input for the processing sector to operate. Do you agree?
I couldn’t agree more! Our agriculture sector is now in the process of restructuring with more than 1,000 production chains in the field of safe agricultural production.
However, we still need to improve the quality of all agricultural products as well as their large production scales.
The other thing we have to do is create close links between production and processing, in both crop production and livestock. I’m very glad to say that in last few days we have just put into operation the most modern pork processing plant in the country in Hà Nam Province – some 60km from Hà Nội.
Other shining example, I should mention is the Cẩm Giàng District in Hải Dương Province, also some 50km from Hà Nội. Farmers there have switched from rice cultivation to grow carrots in a hope to earn more money.
In late 2017, the European Union gave Việt Nam a yellow card on its aqua products, meaning they are subject to spot-checks. What have we been doing to try and regain our green card?
Winning back the green card is only part of the story. Việt Nam has reiterated its determination to follow international law in order to build a responsible fishing sector. Fish are a precious natural resource for the Vietnamese people – both now and in the future.
It took Thailand four years to regain its green card, but Việt Nam does not want to wait that long. Our other more important objective is to build a responsible fishing sector. This is our duty to our children in the course of protecting the environment and international integration.
In the course of deeper international integration, what message do you want to send to our farmers?
Production has penetrated deeply into the world market. As a result, it should follow a large production chain, just like a conveyor belt. To achieve that final goal we have to work together to create concentrated area in accordance to their production areas.
In the course of production, we have to apply science and technology while management agencies, enterprises and scientists must work side by side with the farmers to help them apply high tech in production in order to turn out high quality products to meet customers’ demands. — VNS